• Welcome to the second edition of Last Week This Morning, a weekly NBA column that is supposed hit on all of the previous weeks top stories, but really just serves as a platform for me to talk about anything I want in the world of hoops.

    Playoff T-Shirts

    I was working on Friday when a buddy of mine texted me about potentially heading in to the city (if you were paying attention last week, you would know that ‘the city’ is Boston) to catch Game 3 of Hawks – Celtics. He’s a Celtics fan, I am not, but I do enjoy Isaiah Thomas and Jonas Jerebko, plus I needed him to do me a favor (spring time = swapping the Jeep hard top out for the soft top, and it’s a two-man job), so after one final text he sent me showing that everyone in attendance would be receiving a free playoff T-Shirt courtesy of Arbella Insurance, I was in.

    Screen Shot 2016-04-24 at 3.41.24 PM

    On the train ride in, I had expressed my interest in how the T-shirt thing would go down. Would I be scrambling to find a medium? Would they all be the same size? If they are the same size, what does Arbella Insurance consider the median size of Celtics fans? You know, the important stuff.

    I should also note that I had a good feeling about the Celtics in Game 3 once I heard that Brad Stevens was putting Jonas Jerebko and Evan Turner in the starting lineup. I have less affinity for Turner, but Jerebko is on my ‘does-stuff’ All-Star team. He’s always doing SOMETHING right, and while he doesn’t necessarily put up impressive numbers, whenever he’s on the court, going back to his Pistons days, that lineup just functions better. Ok, back to the T-shirts.

    I’d say we arrived about 40 or so minutes before tip-off, grabbed some food, and headed down to our seats. The arena was mostly empty, so I figured I’d have plenty of time to find the right size shirt and do a quick swaperoo before anyone noticed. Both of our seats had XL’s, mine came with a beer stain from the two dudes standing up behind us, so, lucky me.

    Quick tangent, the two drunk dudes were about my age (26) and at one point in the third quarter one of them said “this place is nothing like the old Gahden”, which made me laugh considering that building closed in 1995 and there is no way they could possibly know what it was like in there.

    T-shirts. I didn’t want the XL, or the beer stain, so I started hunting for that medium, but I would have happily settled for a large.

    Here’s the kicker, every shirt in the building was an extra large. Is that common practice around the NBA? What kind of message are they trying to send?

    I understand the ‘one size fits all’ approach. I’m sure they don’t want people like myself searching for the right size and screwing everything up, and I know it’s cheaper to mass-produce T-shirts if you stick to one size, but I thought it was bush league. Actually, I didn’t really care at all, but outrage equals clicks so consider myself thoroughly pissed. They were bad T-shirts anyway, but I’ve always been genuinely curious of how that free shirt ‘transaction’ goes down, and now it’s documented somewhere on the Internet, so my job here is done.

    Kwame Brown Kid

    As soon as ‘Kwame Brown Kid’ walked in, I forgot how dumb the T-shirt fiasco was.

    Photo Apr 22, 8 09 07 PM (1)

    Kwame Brown is a fun NBA joke. I’m sure there are thousands, if not millions of Crying Jordan Kwame Brown memes on the Internet, and for good reason!

    I can forgive someone for owning, and even wearing, a Washington Wizards Kwame Brown jersey. Jerseys are expensive; you kind of wear what you’ve got – case in point – I saw a Marquis Daniels Celtics jersey in the crowd. Totally acceptable! He was a decent rotation player on a few good Celtics team, I’ll allow it.

    Why would someone ever own a Lakers Kwame Brown jersey, though, and why would you wear it to a Boston Celtics home playoff game?

    I can probably answer that second part, you wear it for attention, like the attention I am giving him, because I thought it was great. The crowd hated him, which I enjoyed. The ‘KWAAAAAAMEEEEEEE’ chant was something I could have never predicted on the train ride in, and for someone who didn’t really care who won, that is why live sporting events are worth going to.

    I screamed some rendition of ‘KWAAAAAAMEEEEEE’ for pretty close to four hours on Friday night. Five or six years ago, I would have bet A LOT of money against that ever happening, and not only did it happen – it made my night.

    Best-of-Five?

    If you read the previous 800 or so words of nonsense, thank you. The truth is, that was the extent of my NBA thoughts this week. The first round of the NBA Playoffs has been quite bad, and largely uneventful. This is the sort of opening round that makes every ‘first round should be best-of-five’ argument relevant; even though I disagree that they should actually change the current format. Underwhelming, uneventful basketball is better than no basketball, but this is coming from a guy who has bought the Vegas Summer League package every year since it’s introduction. I’m not the best person to make a ruling on this.

    Hack-A-Whatever

    Mark Cuban made some comments to the effect of ‘if Adam Silver thinks that they should change the ‘Hack-A-Shaq’ rule, he is absolutely wrong’ earlier this week, and while I don’t necessarily agree with Cuban often, I’m with him on this one.

    On the theoretical list of ‘things that are making basketball less fun’, the intentional fouling stuff is pretty far down. How about tackling how ridiculously long video reviews take? How about a real attempt to de-incentivize flopping? How about changing the one-and-done rule?

    I don’t mind watching poor free throw shooters shoot free throws. I actually find DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Howard at the line awkwardly entertaining. It’s cringe worthy in a can’t-look-away, Michael Scott just said something slightly offensive to Toby Flenderson kind of way. I’m in to it.

    Being able to poke fun at ‘that guy who can’t shoot free throws’ has been part of the NBA framework my entire life. I’m not ready to give that up.

Fantasy News

  • Andre Iguodala
    SF, Miami Heat

    Andre Iguodala returned to South Florida after living in California since the NBA season was suspended.

    Iguodala returning to the market where his team is could mean that he believes team workouts will begin soon. However, there is no official timetable on when team workouts will begin and Jimmy Butler has yet to return to Miami.

    Source: Ira Winderman on Twitter

  • Zach LaVine
    SG, Chicago Bulls

    K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reported that the Bulls were cleared by the Governor of Illinois and are in talks with city officials to open practice facilities on Friday for voluntary workouts that would follow the NBA guidelines.

    The NBA's guidelines currently state that a maximum of four players are allowed in the facility at any given time and there can only be one player per hoop. The Bulls are currently eight games behind the Orlando Magic for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls may not play again this season given how far behind they are in the standings and the recent reports of proposals to not continue the regular season.

    Source: K.C. Johnson on Twitter

  • Luka Doncic
    PG-SF, Dallas Mavericks

    Marc Stein of the New York Times has reported that the Mavs plan to open their practice facility on Thursday.

    This news would make the Mavs the 23rd team to have their facilities open for "voluntary and socially distanced player workouts". Continue to monitor the wire as we should learn more about the potential of the league resuming in early June.

    Source: Marc Stein on Twitter

  • Kawhi Leonard
    SF, Los Angeles Clippers

    On Tuesday afternoon, AmicoHoops reported (via Twitter) that an unidentified NBA GM told them the league has seriously discussed resuming the current NBA season on Wednesday, July 22.

    Nothing has been officially announced, by any means, and this is the first we've heard of specific target date(s) from anyone. It's looking like the continuation of the season will occur in Orlando at Walt Disney World at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex, which has accommodations for at least some of what the NBA has planned for a resuming activity. As we have relayed numerous times recently, the next week or two seem to be a likely window for some decisions from Adam Silver and Co. at the NBA league office to start to come down. Stay tuned, hoops fans.

    Source: AmicoHoops on Twitter

  • Damian Lillard
    PG, Portland Trail Blazers

    Damian Lillard announced on Tuesday evening that, in the event of a continuation of the NBA season, he would not be participating if the Blazers are scheduled to play 'meaningless games' with no shot at making the playoffs.

    "If we come back and they're just like, 'We're adding a few games to finish the regular season,' and they're throwing us out there for meaningless games and we don't have a true opportunity to get into the playoffs, I'm going to be with my team because I'm a part of the team. But I'm not going to be participating," Lillard told Yahoo! Sports on Tuesday morning. It's hard to blame him, as it is quite easy to see the potential situation from his point of view. There have been countless scenarios tossed around by the league office during the pandemic period, but nothing is set in stone so far. Lillard, for his part, is only interested in returning to action if there exists a legitimate shot for his Blazers to reach the NBA Finals. Fair enough.

    Source: Yahoo! Sports

  • Joel Embiid
    C, Philadelphia Sixers

    The Sixers, who have their practice facility located in nearby Camden, NJ, will allow voluntary player workouts at the facility beginning on Wednesday, raising the number of NBA teams who have been able to do so to 22.

    The Celtics, Knicks, Bulls, Pistons, Wizards, Mavericks, Spurs and Warriors are the final teams remaining who are unable to return to their practice facilities. The NBA seems to be inching ever so close to, at the very least, announcing a plan for a continuation of the current season. This next week or two should be very eventful on that front.

    Source: Marc Stein on Twitter

  • Clint Capela
    C, Atlanta Hawks

    Hawks GM Travis Schlenk indicated on Tuesday that Clint Capela (right heel, plantar fasciitis) could very well play in the event of an NBA restart.

    "Clint [Capela] says he's feeling better, and there's a possibility that we can get him back on the court," Schlenk said in a phone interview with ESPN. "Practicing and playing five games would be valuable to us." Capela has yet to see the floor for the Hawks since he was acquired at the deadline from the Rockets, and one would have to surmise that he would be under a heavy minutes restriction if the league resumes and if the Hawks deem him healthy enough to give it a go. Still two big "ifs," but this is obviously positive news for the Hawks and potentially for fantasy owners who have managed to stash Capela in an injury slot this long.

    Source: ESPN.com

  • Mohamed Bamba
    C, Orlando Magic

    Magic center Mo Bamba said on Tuesday that he's spent the quarantine period bulking up, self-proclaiming that he's put on close to 30 pounds of muscle.

    Bamba said of his time off, ""I’ve worked my tail off during this quarantine. This is going to sound weird, but I put on probably about 28 pounds since quarantine (started)." He laughed and added that only about 2.5 percent of the weight he's put on is body fat. Bamba, along with many other NBA players, "can’t wait to get back out there and work" which is a great sign for the Magic and their fans. Jonathan Isaac is becoming more and more of a potential option for the team when/if the season is resumed as the days pass, so his presence would limit Bamba's chances on the offensive end of the floor. The team has yet to decide whether or not they want to play Isaac at all the rest of the season, regardless of the rumblings about a restart from the league office. However, this bulk-up on Bamba's part is nonetheless pretty impressive and is certainly noteworthy.

    Source: NBA.com

  • Terry Rozier
    PG, Charlotte Hornets

    The Hornets are the latest team to re-open their facilities, with the Novant Health Training Center set to open up on Tuesday.

    With this, there are only eight teams left to open their practice courts back up, though nobody has been able to engage in any sort of team work yet. Individual workouts are better than no workouts, however, and the league appears to be getting its ducks in a row in terms of returning to play. There's still no firm timelines but things do appear to be heading in the right direction.

    Source: Charlotte Hornets

  • Jon Leuer
    PF, Milwaukee Bucks

    Jon Leuer has announced his retirement from basketball.

    Injuries completely destroyed Leuer's career, as he played in a combined 49 games over the previous two seasons with zero appearances in the 2019-20 campaign. Leuer's high point came with the Suns, where he averaged 8.5 points to go with 5.6 rebounds, 0.6 steals, 0.4 blocks and a 38.2 mark from deep. His eight-year career comes to an end, with Leuer saying that his body simply won't let him play at a high level anymore.

    Source: Jon Leuer on Instagram